Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 7:49 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 7:49 pm, 17th July 2017

In some ways I feel that Christmas has come early, because here we are with three hours to debate parliamentary procedure, one of my favourite activities. Indeed, I look forward to aestivating in Somerset and talking with my family about all the intricacies of Standing Orders, so I feel in many ways fortunate.

It has been a particularly happy and fortunate debate, with two brilliant maiden speeches. My hon. Friend Kirstene Hair, whose constituency I have had the privilege of visiting—I know its manifold beauties—put the case for the Union perfectly. She should be hired by her tourist board to encourage further visits to her wonderful constituency.

Marsha De Cordova was so generous to her predecessor. It is one of the great charms of maiden speeches that we recognise in them, if only briefly and for the only time in our political careers, that people on the other side of the House are actually not all bad. It is very charming that that is done, and she did it particularly well.

Standing Order No. 14(2) is an important subject, and I have much sympathy with what Chris Bryant said in his well-considered speech. It is the job of those of us on the Back Benches to hold the Government to account, but the job of holding the Executive to account is not just one for the Opposition; it is one for Government Back Benchers, too. Our constitution works if it is balanced and if the Government have to make their case and their arguments, but this debate misfires because the Opposition have come to it too soon in the Parliament and have given it an urgency that it does not deserve.

In my earlier intervention I questioned whether it was wise to have asked for this debate, not whether it was wise to grant the debate. Standing Order No. 24 is an exceptionally valuable tool, and I am glad you are back in the Chair, Mr Speaker, because the more that Standing Order is used, the better.